The effect that COVID-19 is having on businesses of all sizes is profound. While the world slowly begins to resume activities that everyone once took for granted as daily life, enterprises of all sizes, in all industries, will be dealing with a new normal. During these unprecedented times, meeting your customers’ needs is more important than ever. Business disruptions serve to increase anxiety among those who depend upon your goods or services – from organizations in your supply chain to your end-users. Financial disruptions follow business disruptions, escalating the severity of the situation.
Cloud-based CRM solutions are essential to maintaining customer service – and communication with vendors – while business-as-usual no longer is. The more effective your CRM, the better positioned your company will be to survive and persevere. As Leonard Klie – editor of CRM Magazine – writes, “COVID-19 is actually imposing changes on businesses that could be beneficial, both during the immediate crisis and into the recovery period and beyond.
“COVID-19 … spurred companies to finally start embracing new technologies to continue operations as their employees were being urged to stay home. Companies quickly accelerated their digital transformations; began replacing legacy systems that outlived their utility years ago; and invested in new hardware, systems, and software to accommodate remote workforces. Contact centers were obvious beneficiaries, but the waves of change also rolled through marketing, sales, and other departments.”
Obviously, Klie sees opportunity in adversity. So should you.
Your customers need you, not excuses
Communication breakdowns were widespread during the early days of the temporary business closures mandated as the result of COVID-19’s rapid sweep. However, as Klie’s article implied, many businesses were not able to meet the demand because of outdated technology that hadn’t been upgraded and scaled to grow with the customer base – or because customer service never was a priority. The suddenly increased demand broke a system that already was barely functioning.
On this front, Klie offers an example of his own recent experience. Attempting to contact customer service of a major telecommunications corporation because of his inability to log into one of his personal email accounts, Klie at first was even unable to find its toll-free number.
“After some exhaustive searches on Google, I finally found a toll-free number, and started calling yesterday afternoon. The first thing you hear when you dial is a recording saying that call wait times may be longer than usual because of coronavirus. I sat there on hold for more than two hours, and no one ever answered. I called again several other times throughout the evening, each with the same result.
“I began calling again this morning, still with the same result. After more than three hours (and counting) on hold today, and about five hours yesterday, my patience is gone. I’m done. I’m leaving the company for sure.”
Klie’s point: COVID-19 actually had nothing to do with his inability to reach help. The company didn’t value the customer – a situation that existed long before the pandemic hit.
Hopefully, your business is committed to delivering excellent customer service. Fortunately, a good cloud-based CRM can help you achieve it.
Why is a cloud-based CRM better?
For any organization, customer experience management should always be the top priority. Regardless of the scale of your operations, a cloud-based CRM system can help you manage your customers effectively.
But with the prevailing situation in which many people now work remotely, it is crucial to have a system in place that allows your employees to access data from their home. Keep in mind that the shift from on-site to remote working may become permanent – or at least, greatly extended. Assuming that a solid, full-featured CRM solution isn’t necessary because you’ll all be back in the office soon is short-sighted. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the post-COVID-19 workplace forecast projects that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days per week in 2021.
As the forecast reports:
“The demand for flexibility in where and how people work has been building for decades. Before the crisis, surveys repeatedly showed 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time. Over a third would take a pay cut in exchange for the option. While the experience of working at home during the crisis may not have been ideal as whole families sheltered in place, it will give people a taste of what could be. The genie is out of the bottle and it’s not likely to go back in.”
When you opt for a cloud-based CRM, your CRM software, its tools, and all your data reside in the cloud, and your employees can access what they need (and have permissions for) completely online, on any internet-enabled device – including smartphones and tablets. Your commitment to maintaining – and growing – customer relationships can continue to achieve the high standards you’ve set.
Cloud-based CRM solutions also are created with advanced automatized backup policies and robust data recovery plans, making security a top priority. What’s more, you can further improve data safety and security by using two-step authentication and strong passwords (an important requirement for being GDPR-compliant.)
In addition to 24/7 accessibility and security, cloud CRMs are also affordable. As you only use the services, you don’t need to buy the hardware and software. You also don’t need to maintain or upgrade the system. The cloud CRM service provider maintains and runs the system seamlessly.
A cloud-based CRM also offers a scalable solution
Apart from round-the-clock accessibility, reliability, security, affordability, ease of installation and economical upgrades, a cloud-based CRM also offers a scalable solution. The system easily can expand or scale back according to need. Such flexibility allows your business to most efficiently meet customer demand while not incurring additional expense.
When you choose a cloud-based CRM system, you pay based on the number of users and the storage capacity obtained from the cloud provider. Simply make a phone call to your vendor, informing them about scaling your operations up or down. The cloud service provider can enhance your capacity without any issue or delay.
A cloud-based CRM is particularly beneficial for small businesses that want to save money on IT infrastructure. You don’t need an IT team to manage your CRM system. You also don’t need to buy the hardware and invest in costly upgrades. Maintenance, upgrades and backups are the responsibility of the cloud service provider. Running the CRM system is the responsibility of the vendor – therefore, you need not worry about its day-to-day function.
Cloud-based CRM solutions can also integrate well with your other office applications and email systems. It also automatically backs up your data and integrates your social data.
The take-home message
While the times may still be uncertain, your ability to support your customers from wherever you’re conducting business need not be. This is the ideal opportunity to see what eZnet CRM can do to give your company the valuable tools it needs to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and effectively serve your customers. And you may be surprised at how economical it is, even after the free 30-day trial period. Contact us today to learn more and get started.